Tag Archives: design

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On “Fast Fashion” Furniture


This piece
outlines how “fast-furniture” manufacturers have take a page from the book of fast fashion manufacturers and have gone on to make visually appealing but physically awful furniture.  It says:

Fast-furniture manufacturers (are) giving shoppers an opportunity to buy trend-informed furniture at a price that doesn’t force them to pretend they’re investing in the future. Wasteful though it may be, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to buy an expensive sofa if you don’t know where you’ll be living in a year.

So it should come as little surprise that much of this furniture isn’t great.

People want new furniture. They want to transition from stuff they find on the side of the road, or from IKEA, or even hand me downs from their family. But they don’t have the money or the patience to buy better pieces. This creates the fast furniture market.

File under “you get what you paid for”. Worth a read. Especially if you are attracted to the look and the price of some of these pieces.

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Lenovo and its folding tablet


Tech manufacturers are struggling to make folding devices. So far the folding smartphones are not where they need to be. Lenovo has taken a different approach, by  building a folding tablet first, and not a folding smartphone.

Whether this will be a hit remains to be seen. But as the Yanko Design piece shows, the chance of success with a folding tablet is much higher than a folding phone. If it is a hit, it could lead to smaller devices (i.e., phones) eventually getting that way too.

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What’s happening with Midcentury Modern Design


According to this, the interest in this style of furniture may be slowly fading:
Is Interest in Midcentury Modern Design Declining?

I’m not surprised. Revivals all have their rise and falls, and this style of furniture is overdue. Likely it won’t totally fade, since so many pieces of that era really blend in well with other styles of furnishing. It’s just likely you won’t see whole rooms dedicated to the style.

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Great examples of how to use the colour black in your living space


Can be found here: Modern Brazilian Apartment for a Young Couple – Design Milk.

From black walls to black accents, this apartment has black everywhere, and it does so in a way that makes a strong visual contrast while still keeping the apartment bring.

Smart.

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A masterwork of maximalism

Is this home featured here: This Cozy Minnesota Home Will Make You Want a Candelabra | A Cup of Jo

You really out to go to the site and check it out. Meanwhile, here’s a peek to show you what I mean:

Some thoughts on this:

  • There is a ton of objects in this photo, but they are orderly. There is a place for everything; things aren’t just thrown about.
  • The objects are all attractive: nothing is just stuck somewhere.
  • It helps to be in a nice room, but the good thing about maximalism is that you can turn even a boring box in to something attractive. (Much harder to do with minimalism
  • The colour scheme is consistent here. That helps rest the eye as it moves around the room.

I highly recommend you go to Cup of Jo linked to above and see the rest of it. It’s inspiring for maximalists like myself. 🙂

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The Embroidered Computer. Fascinating.


First off, what is it?

The Embroidered Computer is an exploration into using historic gold embroidery materials and knowledge to craft a programmable 8 bit computer.

Brilliant. For more on the design and more photos, see here:  The Embroidered Computer | Irene PoschIrene Posch

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Is the Citroën Ami One the future of urban vehicles?


I am not sure of the viability of this vehicle, licence or no: You don’t need a licence to drive the Citroën Ami One in Yanko Design,

I do think it is interesting though. And Yanko Design has great photos and a write up on it. Worth reviewing and considering it. We need alternatives to the automobiles we have now. Perhaps this is it.

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A cool ride: the 2019 Honda Super Cub C125 Motorcycle


No real reason to post this other than I thought it was a nicely designed motorcycle. And if you are interested in a good way to get around a city, you might want to check it out, here:  2019 Honda Super Cub C125 Motorcycle | Uncrate

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A bold maximalism


Meanwhile a bold maximalism is achieved here, not so much by the amount of items as by the amount of bold colours and prints used throughout the place. It’s still not a big place, but it feels right. I guess that is all relative, but I love this.

For more, see This Manhattan Home Feels Like a Jewel Box | A Cup of Jo

(Image a link from the above article in A Cup of Jo)

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A good maximalist apartment


For fans of maximalism, you can get some good ideas on how to pull it off and still make your place feel orderly by checking out this post: A Book-Filled Manhattan Apartment Where Everything Tells a Story | A Cup of Jo.

If you love small spaces AND stuff, you need to learn to be a good maximalist. (Or buy storage.) That post in A Cup of Jo can help.

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If you are serious about taking food pictures…


You might need this: This desktop lightbox makes your lighting setup as advanced as your camera | Yanko Design.

Ok, you like do not need this. But it is a pretty cool lightbox. Worth checking out, if only to fantasize about.

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6 good links for living well for less in a small space

I am fascinated by living in a small space. Here are some of the better links I’ve found on how to live well in such confines.

  1. Tiny Living Inspiration Small NYC Studio Apartment | Apartment Therapy
  2. Large Picture Frames You Can Make on the Cheap | Apartment Therapy
  3. Smart and Stylish Wall Storage to Organize Your Small Bedroom | Apartment Therapy
  4. Gabby & Adam’s Smart & Functional Small Space | Apartment Therapy
  5. Small Apartment in Bucharest — Shoebox Dwelling | Finding comfort, style and dignity in small spaces
  6. 14 Genius Tips for Living in a Small Space | A Cup of Jo

(Picture from the Cup of Jo piece.)

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Bookworm: a bookshelf that is a cut above the rest

Part bookshelf, part seat, this bookshelf is not like any other.

For more information on how you can get your own, see Bookworm – The only cocoon shaped bookshelf in the world | Atelier 010 Rotterdam

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One quick thought on the new Mac Pro

One thing that struck me about the new Mac Pro is that Apple has finally gotten to do design again for a hardware. Most of their products these days are as minimal as can be when it comes to design. With the Mac Pro, at least, they can apply new design ideas to their product. I like it, even if it is compared to a cheese grater. But I liked the previous model, even though it was compared to a garbage can.

For more on the device, see:  Apple announces all-new redesigned Mac Pro, starting at $5,999 – The Verge

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A minimalist lamp

This,  a Simple Lamp that Requires No Hardware by Emmanuel Gonzalez, is really as beautiful as it is simple.

Great design.

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A few thoughts on Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo and her method of cleaning up are very hot now, likely due to her TV show. This hotness sparked a number of discussions about her, such as this: “Tokimeku” Means So Much More Than “Spark Joy” in Japanese | Apartment Therapy. It also sparked other, more extreme discussions, such as how it is racist to not account for the deeper Shinto meaning in her works.

I read her book when it first came out and I admired it. I didn’t agree with all of it, but I liked her approach to life and the things we own. I got the Shinto aspect of the book, but I don’t recall that  it was emphasized, so criticizing people of missing that who are unaware of Shintoism is a ridiculous criticism.

There have been shows like Marie Kondo on before. It makes sense. We are driven in North American culture to accumulate, and shows like hers provide us with an antidote to this. When Marie Kondo is forgotten, another home organizer will come along.

I have read more extreme versions of Marie Kondo, like “Goodbye, Things”, which promotes a very minimal life style. I bought it the way I buy other books that have subjects to aspire to but will never achieve. I guess others have too.

There is something to be said for a minimalist lifestyle, a maximalist life style, and something in between. In the end, what counts is that you have positive feelings towards the place you inhabit, however much you have.

One thing Marie Kondo misses is the notion of a room as a workshop. If you have a hobby, be it cooking or woodworking or gardening or reading, you likely have a room where all your tools and supplies are. If you are good at your hobby, you likely have alot of them. That makes sense. It doesn’t make sense to get rid of them just because you want to have less things. Have what you need to do the job when you want to. You could still trim back: do you really need 10 cutting boards or 3 screwdrivers that are exactly the same? But otherwise keep the tools you need or may need.

I think Marie Kondo is great because she encourages us to live better with some simple guidelines. Even if you don’t follow them all, you will live better if you consider her message and try to apply it. In the end you’ll have a better home, and you will have a better idea of what you consider a better home.

Image from the NYTimes article on her, here.

 

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For Dieter Rams fans

Two good recent pieces on the great Dieter Rams, here:

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The William hotel in NYC, or how to use bold colour in your home.

I have not stayed at the William, but I don’t need to in order to appreciate the beauty of the place (shown above). Regardless of your travel plans, if you have decorating plans, it’s a great place that illustrates how to effectively use bold colour in your home. For many, using bold colours can be both desirable and intimidating. Some concrete examples can help you achieve your bold colour dreams and overcome your bold colour fears.

For more, see this:  A Bold, Colorful Hotel in the Heart of Manhattan – Design Milk

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10 iconic Bauhaus furniture designs


For fans of Bauhaus, or those who want to become one, there’s this: 10 iconic Bauhaus furniture designs: chairs, tables, a lamp and a chess set.

It includes a number of pieces by Mies, including the Barcelona chair, shown above.

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Taking a tiny home for a test drive

If you ever thought about living in a Tiny Home, here’s your chance to try them out before you buy one. Simply rent one of the ones listed here:  Tiny House Rentals for Your Next Getaway (Apartment Therapy). There is a range of places and styles and prices for them.

I have thought of living in one myself, but wondered if I could manage. This could be one way to find out.

Photo courtesy HomeAway

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Alternatives to Cloud White: two other Benjamin Moore white paints to consider

If you want an off white paint for your interiors, you can’t beat Cloud White from Benjamin Moore. However, if you do want to consider alternatives then these two articles agree that you want to look at either White Dove or Simply White, also by Benjamin Moore. These two pieces also go into detail as to when you want to use them (e.g. trim, kitchen cabinets). Before you start painting, check them out:

    1. Colour Review: Benjamin Moore 3 Best Warm White Paint Colours
    2. The Three Best Off Whites By Benjamin Moore – Warline Painting

In praise of maximalism in decor

It’s rare to see a maximalist approach to decorating, but an exception is to be found here: House Tour: A Maximalist Apartment in Vicenza, Italy | Apartment Therapy.

If you are a fan of maximalism, like I tend to be, then this is exciting. If you are a minimalist, then this likely caused you some discomfort! 🙂 To each their own.

For those with the motto: More is More, click on the link for more ideas of how to fill up your space with beauty and the things you love. Minimalists will want to move on (unless they want to hate read it).

More on tiny homes


Two more tiny home stories. First up, Muji also has a tiny prefab home and you can see more pictures (like the one above) here: Muji Hut Launches With 3 New Tiny Prefab Homes Collection of 9 Photos by Aileen Kwun – Dwell.

Second, here is an odd but topical story for a tiny home heated by Bitcoin mining technology! 

 

A tiny home that seems livable


Many tiny homes look nice to visit but the thought of living in something so small seems impossible. An exception to those homes are these MADi houses, featured here: MADi Flat Pack Tiny House – Fast Set Up Eco Friendly | Apartment Therapy. 

They seem spacious, thanks to the A frame and all the windows. Better still, they seem very affordable.  Tiny home fans (or skeptics), take note.

You can find more about them here.

Minimalist Cork Made Furniture by Daniel Michalik

Over at Fubiz they have some remarkable furniture made with cork, like this:

and this:

Not a relative, but a fine designer with a good last name 🙂 Check out this link for more: Minimalist Cork Made Furniture by Daniel Michalik – Fubiz Media

In an alternative universe this is the next hot smartphone


I am unexcited about the direction in Smartphone design. The key design idea that less is more in a phone is becoming Less is a Bore. Perhaps that’s why this design of a Blackberry got me thinking about it. While it still has a gorgeous screen, the phone itself is worthy of looking at and touching. It strikes the right balance. The phone as a design object is worthwhile.

It would have been good if Apple had struck out in a new design direction with the iPhone X. Instead they went with Less is More. Instead we have a phone with the Notch and a camera on the back that sticks out. It’s as if Apple would have preferred not to have these cameras and sensors,  so rather than design the phone to incorporate them into the design, they stick out, figuratively and literally. In a few years from now when Apple has gone in a different direction, Apple fans will look back and exclaim how poor that aspect of the phone design is.

As for now, we live in an age where the screen dominates design, from TVs to smartphones. In the future that may change and the technology that we interact with will be contained in objects that have noteworthy design in them.
For more on this beautifully designed phone, see If BlackBerry Ditched the Keyboard | Yanko Design.

Quilting as a form of coding


First off, I think the quilts by Elizabeth Elliott are beautiful. Besides their beauty, I found it remarkable how she goes about making them.  According to this piece, Quilts Made of Code by Elizabeth Elliott – Design Milk,  the quilts are designed…

using a programming language called Processing. Through Processing, Elliott edits coding and generates random formations of geometric and traditional quilt block shapes. Afterward, she plays and edits the configuration until it becomes a quilt design she likes.

Here’s one more:

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Go see the Design Milk article to see more and get more information.

The digital beauty of Laura C Hewitt’s ceramics

I love the ceramics of Hewitt, especially for the way she works in digits as part of the overall work. Such as this piece


and this:

Now here’s what’s great. First, you can see more of her work here, at Colossal:
Kernel Panic: New Binary Ceramics Punctuated with Typewriter Keys by Laura C. Hewitt 

Second, you can buy her work here, at her Etsy store!

It’s rare I can share work that is not only beautiful but that you can acquire. Glad I can do that here.

A peek inside the sublime new NYC residence designed by the great Zaha Hadid

Fortunate souls walking along New York’s High Line can catch a glimpse of the magnificent building pictured above. Now, thanks to Design Milk, you can get to see what it looks like inside by going here: 520 West 28th Condominium Residence by Zaha Hadid – Design Milk. 

Not surprisingly, it is as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the outside. I would love to live there. Take a peek inside and you’ll see why.

What do you get when you mix architects and cats?


Some pretty wild cat homes, as you can see here: Inspired Outdoor Cat Shelters by Architects for Animals – Design Milk.

It’s worth checking out the article: some of the things architects build for their cats is really incredible. (Also there is a good chance the cat will just ignore it and go and squeeze into a nearby box).

A Portable, Flexible and Affordable Cardboard Standing Desk that is perfect for Road Warriors

Standing desk
This: A Portable, Flexible and Affordable Cardboard Standing Desk over at the site Design Milk, is a great design of a desk that not only is capable of transforming from a typical to a standing desk, but is also capable of being packed up and easily transported to different locations. For standing desk fans that travel to different work locations, it might be just the thing you need.

It’s strong too. Check out the link above and see what this piece of furniture can do. Impressive.

Glitches as a design pattern for fabric

The good folks at Glitchaus have taken an oddity of the digital world – glitches – and used it as the basis of their designs of scarves and wraps. If you are in need of either, or you’d just like to see some innovative fashion, it’s worth visiting their site.

A very cool Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

Over at themakerista.com is a very cool hack of 3 Billy bookcases that result in something with a built in look. Here’s the work in progress:
And here’s the final product:

You may not try something as challenging, but if you are interested in spiffing up your tired old bookcases, check this out this: The Makerista: Laura’s Living Room: Ikea Billy Bookshelves Hack

MyDomaine will make you appreciate IKEA in a new way

The folks at MyDomaine.com have a number of great articles of how to use IKEA furniture in a chic way. Here are four of them:

Well worth a look if you are on a budget and need to furnish your place. For example, I really like how they used IKEA bookcases to make this:

Why do Apple’s Macbook chargers cost so much?

Simple: they are a complex piece of technology. The photo above shows a Macbook charger from Apple on the left: the charger on the right is from another company. You can clearly see that the one from Apple has a lot more technology packed in there. And for good reasons. To understand what those reasons are, see this piece:  Macbook charger teardown: The surprising complexity inside Apple’s power adapter. It was surprisingly interesting, from an engineering and design perspective.

Thanks to Tom Plaskon for sharing this on Twitter!

The history of a great collaboration: Philippe Starck, Ian Schrager and the rise of the NYC designer hotel

It seems commonplace now, but the idea of hotels having the same cachet as a nightclub seem to me to come about in the 1980s with the rise of Ian Schrager as a hotelier. While he collaborated with others, the partnership he formed with Philippe Starck resulted in some really fantastic hotels, as can be seen in this post: The 21st Century Interior – Case studies – Philippe Starck/Ian Schrager: Designer Hotels – Blog – APID.

Nowadays many of these hotels have changed, but in the latter part of the 20th century they were opening with all the excitement of a new nightclub, which in some ways they resembled.  I remember hanging out in the lobby of The Royalton as it was just getting ready to open, talking to the staff in their Hugo Boss suits, marvelling over the designs of Starck, thinking of how the blue carpet made one feel as glamorous as anyone in the city. Later on I stayed at the Paramount and Morgan’s, each visit made Manhattan that much better.

Recently the hotels have been changing as they have been upgraded. Only The Hudson seems to have retained that earlier quality, it seems. Soon even that will transform into whatever brings in the guests. I haven’t been to The Hudson yet: I must get their before it is too late.

I am not sure if there is a history of great hotels, but if there ever is, I expect some of these places will find their place in it. Meanwhile, read the post on these hotels, and check out The Hudson in NYC while you can.

(Top photo of the Royalton, bedroom photo from the Paramount. Both linked to from the post, which has more great photos.)

 

Pebble and their smart watches are not going away yet

After the Apple Watch came out, I wondered how this would affect Pebble, the company. Turns out, instead of folding, they have plans to evolve and grow. For evidence of this, check out their latest watch (in the photo, as well as here: Pebble Smartwatch | Smartwatch for iPhone & Android). They seem to be aiming to finding a market for those wanting some of the features of the Apple Watch without all the functionality (or cost).

With the watch above, you can see them adopting higher end materials and also getting thinner (and round). It is more expensive than the original Pebble, but likely better quality. And still much cheaper than Apple Watch.

I have a Pebble and I really like it. It does what I want, which is send me notifications without having to get out my phone, which is great in meetings, at events, or driving (carefully). And you can even easily write code for it. Finally, it is a great watch that needs to be rarely charged.

Needless to say, the Apple Watch is a great product. Depending on your needs, it could be a better choice than the Pebble. But the Pebble is a good product too, and I think there is a place in the market for a range of watch makers. Get one that suits your needs. With the Pebble, now you have more choice.

Some beautiful and inspiring examples of floor tiling to inspire (or fright you :))

This post, 12 Creative Ways To Use Floor Tile from Design Milk, has some beautiful and imaginative uses of floor tiles. The one above is one of my favorite, but all of them are great.

Something beautiful: an Infinite Bridge in Denmark

This is a really beautiful bridge. It is relaxing to look at…it’s likely more so to walk upon.

For more images of it, see Infinite Bridge in Denmark – Fubiz Media

It’s Monday. You are stuck on conference calls. Here’s some Paris hotels to fantasize about


For people who love Paris and fine hotels, NOW Toronto Magazine offers up 5 Paris hotels for design junkies you want to see. Perfect if you are needing a break from work, real or imaginary. After you read the article and gaze over the photos, your next tab on your browser may be linking to google.com/hotels or google.com/flights. Bon voyage!